Pucallpa proposes two conflicting aesthetics visions, separated by the plot structure. First, we have Elsa’s confinement in a men’s prison. With rare light, this world invokes inchoate feelings of violence, enigma, and suffering. The atmosphere that reminds us of the last period of Goya: his Black Paintings, but also the symbolism of Querelle by Fassbinder. By contrast, the other portion of the film gives us a blast of fresh air, allowing the viewer to leave the oppression of the prison and explore the ultra-modern urban landscape of Seoul; visually inspired by Ridley Scott’s Blade Runner. The Korean minority co-producer will be responsible for setting up the local production and shooting unit. The financing will be provided by the Seoul Film Commission.
The second half of the film will reinforce this passage from darkness to light, from the gloom of the prison to the luminous atmosphere of Paris. Elsa can finally continue her hormonal treatment, thus transforming herself physically and psychologically. Pucallpa is the story of a quest and, at the same time, of a return to the sublime femininity that Elsa always possessed—a reaffirmation of her own identity. In this sense, the structure of the story renders it a sort of inverted David Lynch’s Mullholand Drive.
With an aesthetic inspired by Wong Kar Wai’s In the Mood for Love, Paris is transformed into a city of love in the eyes of the heroine. It is spring, the light and colors are warm, the dominant tone is golden. While Elsa and Aymeric face their feelings of love but remain at odds with one another, the film recreates an atmosphere of star-crossed love that ends in an ambiguous triangle between Yena, her French husband and Elsa. In the end, the story draws to a close with Elsa and Yena, who renounce of the European paradise.